This year’s version of the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship attracted a staggering 3,752 players, all of whom packed the Rio to the rafters on Day 1 to set a new record for an opening day field. The bustouts came fast and furious on the first day of action and thousands of seniors hit the rail in succession.
After nearly four thousand hopeful seniors converged on the World Series of Poker looking to win the Seniors Championship, we have crowned a new champion. James Hess, who hails from Encino, California, navigated the record-setting opening day field to make the final table. Once he got there, Hess used a combination of pressure poker and modern strategy to exert his will on the rest of the competitors. After claiming the chip lead halfway through the final table, Hess never relinquished it and used his big stack to punish his opponents for the rest of the night.
Hess defeated Richard “Dick” Harwood in a relatively quick heads-up contest, after dispatching no less than five other players from the final table. A one-man wrecking crew, Hess was the most aggressive player in the room for the entirety of Day 3, using three-bets and re-steals to bully his opponents into submission.
Hess told us early on in the day that his trip to South Africa was weighing heavily on his mind, even with glory of a WSOP bracelet so close at hand. When asked why this flight was so important, Hess became emotional as he told us about his father-in-law, who currently lives in South Africa. With this 1st place finish occurring on Father’s Day, Hess will undoubtedly be able to give a very special gift: a WSOP victory dedicated to him.